Maretzek Italian Opera Company: Il Trovatore

Event Information

Academy of Music

Manager / Director:
Max Maretzek

Carl Bergmann

Event Type:

Record Information


Last Updated:
9 February 2016

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

18 Mar 1867, 8:00 PM

Program Details

Opera debut of Euphrosyne Parepa-Rosa.

Debut of Bacelli in the role of Fernando.

Performers and/or Works Performed

aka Troubadour
Composer(s): Verdi
Text Author: Cammarano
Participants:  Maretzek Italian Opera Company;  Fernando [bass-baritone] Bellini (role: Count di Luna);  Francesco Mazzoleni (role: Manrico);  Euphrosyne Parepa (role: Leonora);  Fanny Natali-Testa [contralto] (role: Azucena);  A. [bass] Bacelli (role: Ferrando)


Review: New-Yorker Musik-Zeitung, 16 March 1867, 505.

The theater was completely filled.

Announcement: New York Post, 16 March 1867.

“Next week the queen of the concert room—Madame Parepa-Rosa—makes her first appearance in opera, an announcement that ensures crowded houses.”

Advertisement: New-York Times, 16 March 1867.
Advertisement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 16 March 1867.
Announcement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 16 March 1867, 8.
Announcement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 17 March 1867, 4.
Announcement: New York Post, 18 March 1867.
Announcement: New York Sun, 18 March 1867, 4.

“The debut of Madame Parepa in opera is the event which will mark this evening in the amusement world of our vicinity. It has been studiously prepared for by the party most interested, and all who have been permitted at the rehearsals whisper hints of an overwhelming success as the result of the venture. In the concert room certainly Madame Parepa has created an interest in herself, and a popularity which few singers of recent years have approached. But now that she is so high and so safe, let her be careful not to overtax her draught by performing too frequently. Lately few concerts for any character have taken place without her. This is over working herself—and may turn out to be like making people hunger after something they like;—a necessity, then, seems all the greater luxury when they can approach it. A wink is as good as a—&c., &c.—Madame Parepa will made [sic] her debut in Il Trovatore.”  

Announcement: New-York Times, 18 March 1867, 5.
Review: New-York Times, 18 March 1867, 5.

“Amusements. Academy of Music—Italian Opera.—Mme. Parepa—of whom, since her first appearance in New-York, last October, in the concert-room, there has been but one story to tell, that of uninterrupted success—made her début in opera last evening. ‘Il Trovatore’ was selected for the occasion. No Italian opera has been more abused by the few and applauded by the many than ‘Il Trovatore.’ All sorts of things have been written against it, and in a few respects, perhaps, deservedly enough; but it is so full of animation and of a certain sort of passion, that the great majority of opera-goers have a real liking for it, as the great majority of novel-readers have a real liking for sensation novels. The fact is, that the patrons of the lyric drama are now recruited from every sphere, and the entertainment demanded for them must satisfy tastes of the most opposite character. The severe critic hears with his intellect, but the vast majority of people ask only that their ears may be gratified. Verdi, who writes for the untutored rather than for the scholars in music, is certainly the composer for these times, and whatever may be said of ‘Il Trovatore’ in a high-art point of view, its attractiveness as a lyric drama is indisputable.  It combines a succession of dramatic surprises, which delight present-day audiences. It portrays a well-contrasted set of characters, acting from appreciable motives, and leaves no doubt where sympathy and abhorrence ought to be bestowed. In fact, as a play, its features are strongly marked. The music is subordinate to this peculiarity, and is rather intended to keep the hearer in an appropriate frame of mind while the drama is being evolved, than to develop the story by its own force and expression. It puts to the test all the histrionic ability of the artists, and their power of expressing the passions is called into play as much as their voices are taxed. This being so, it is—as the lawyers say—‘of the essence of the contract’ that the singers should abandon themselves to utter freedom and unrestraint in their several rôles, and this contract Mme. Parepa fulfilled to the last letter in the part of Leonora—a character which calls into action all the vast resources of her facile voice, as well as that capacity for the delineation of sentiment which the purpose that always shone through her efforts in the concert-room exhibited. Her triumph in the new field was certain beforehand, but it became a fixed fact from the dramatic utterance of her first notes in the Tacca la note, and its more florid companion of the opening scene, ‘Ah! tu parlasti.’ Everything that followed was equally effective, while in the last act the high-sustained note in the ‘duel scene’ was the very cry of agony, and received a vehement and not to be suppressed encore. The début of Sig. Barcelli, in the basso rôle, was successful as far as he could be judged, although there are but limited opportunities in the part of Fernando for him to prove his quality. Sig. Mazzoleni was never more effective as the woful [sic] troubadour—a rôle in which, since he has been heard in it, he has made so exclusively his own, that his successor will have a troublesome time to win any favor worth having. Mme. Testa gave a strong dramatic character to her scenes as Azucena, although there was a lack of force in the ‘Strida la Vampe.’ Bellini’s Conte di Luna is too old a favorite to require more to be said of it now that that it was last night equal to its reputation. All the rest was well; and it could not help being otherwise under Carl Bergmann’s conductorship.”

Announcement: New-York Daily Tribune, 18 March 1867, 5.

“The cast for the occasion is the best Maretzek can offer; and while the success of Madame Parepa is doubtless assured by her vocal gifts and talents, it is to be seen whether she can wear the dramatic chaplet of the queens of opera.”

Announcement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 18 March 1867, 8.
Review: New York Post, 19 March 1867.

“Amusements. Italian Opera. The transition of so eminent a singer as Madame Parepa-Rosa from the field of her brilliant triumphs in the concert room to the operatic stage is an event of no ordinary importance in the musical world, and one which is naturally watched with an unusual interest. The crowded condition of the Academy last evening, and the marked attention given to this popular artist’s performance of the part of Leonora, in ‘Trovatore,’ demonstrated this. The composition of the audience, too, indicated the fact that hundreds of those who seldom attend the opera had followed their favorite from the concert-room. A large number of the more fashionable and regular opera-goers were absent at a well-known private theatre up-town, who may be expected to turn out to-night in full force to see Madame Parepa in ‘Norma.’

Perhaps the selection of ‘Trovatore’ for her first appearance in opera was in some respects judicious. It was not an agreeable selection, so far as critical and cultured listeners were concerned, but then these are always in a hopeless minority, while those who belong to the various classes below them—musically ranked—are the grand source of profit to operatic managers. Unfortunately for the diffusion and cultivation of a pure taste, Verdi’s music—particularly that of ‘Trovatore’—is that which the public best know, and it was well that Madame Parepa-Rosa should first essay a trial of her powers in this opera, where comparison was easily enough made with the performances of other celebrated artists.

We cheerfully chronicle the fact that from beginning to end the trial was a great success. The cordiality of the first greeting accorded her was a pleasing evidence of the general sentiment of kindliness as well as of admiration which Madame Parepa-Rosa has been so fortunate as to inspire during her remarkably successful concert career in this country. The audience were ready to be pleased and expectant of a brilliant performance, and awarded a liberal degree of applause to the execution of the ‘Tacea la notte’ in the first act, although Madame Parepa-Rosa was by no means up to herself in this song. Afterwards, however, she was more completely ‘master of the situation,’ and in the first scene of the last act fairly won the tempestuous applause which was awarded her. The remarkable purity, range and power of her voice, and her wonderful facility of execution, had here their finest exemplification—the air ‘D’amor sui ali rosei’ being an exception to the usual unmelodious and chaotic music of ‘Trovatore.’

As an actress Madame Parepa-Rosa succeeded, we think, to a degree which her admirers rather hoped for than expected. Her acting was not, it is true, of a character to excite any special enthusiasm, but was sufficiently good not to attract special criticism. In this respect it is not unreasonable to expect improvement. Altogether Madame Parepa-Rosa has reason to be proud of her first achievement on the operatic stage of America, and the public have assurance that she will yet win brighter triumphs.”

Review: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 20 March 1867, 8.

Parepa-Rosa has proved last night that she is equally at home on the theater stage as in the concert hall. 

Review: New York Sun, 20 March 1867, 4.

Part of review of  03/19/67 performance of Norma, in which Parepa sang the role of Norma.

“…On Monday night, when at first aim the arrow of her [Parepa] genius sped to every heart, and brought, with a wild outburst, the audience to her feet at the end of the passionate and tumultuous aria for the soprano, tenor and baritone which closes the opening act of Il Trovatore;—an outburst which was repeated in the third and in the fourth acts of that melodious and dramatic opera; and last evening, again, when in the stern, grand Norma she re-aroused popular fervor for a very different sort of person from the love-tossed and extremely human Leonora, and in a class of music altogether different periods of recent operatic history. There can be but little doubt that Il Trovatore is the most popular opera in this country, and is likely to remain so while the present class of opera goers exist or hold together. Years since, when the only patrons of music belonged to the class of the most refinement, and, by consequence of the severest taste, Norma held the first place in esteem. But as a recent critic has said ‘the lovers of the lyric drama are now recruited from every class of citizens, and the entertainment demanded must satisfy tastes as diverse in character.’ Incapable of construing notes into coherent language the vast majority of the new patrons demands the fullest explanation, by incident of the purpose of the composer; and educated fully up to the most sensational dramatic standards, it demands no common degree of incident in connection with the music. Now Il Trovatore combines a novel and interesting story and a succession of dramatic surprises which delight these audiences.”

Review: New York Musical Gazette, 23 March 1867, 520.

Parepa-Rosa is the latest attraction of the Italian opera. Her singing is tasteful and interesting, because she does not use her voice in the traditional opera singing style. Her voice seemed a little fatigued. However, her acting was livelier than we expected, although it did not seem genuine.

Review: New York Clipper, 30 March 1867, 8.

“Mme. Parepa-Rosa has sung in Italian Opera through the past week, with Adelaide Phillipps, Brignoli, &c., to great acceptance. Her characters have been Leonora in Il Trovatore (!) Norma, Donna Anna (best of all).”

Review: New York Musical Gazette, April 1867, 45.

“…To this list must now be added the name of Parepa (her husband must excuse us, but the old name will slip out before we are aware), who made her début in Il Trovatore, and has had a repetition of the success by which she has before been crowned in every field she has undertaken.”